Mississippi Money: Maximize the Impact of Birthday Gifts!
When teaching children about finances, we start by teaching them three uses of money – spend, save or give. Birthday parties can be a big expense, and cash gifts are good annual reminders to put money aside for the future, but giving is a little harder to work into a day that most people view as a time to receive. Here are a few ways you can help your child have more meaningful and memorable birthdays:
Guide, but don’tdictate the process. Maybe you have a good idea of what cause fuels your child’s passion; maybe neither of you do! Finding a cause that is already aligned with your child’s interests makes it fun and easy to commit to. Discuss broad categories that they can make an impact in such as saving animals and nature, helping the underprivileged or preserving local history. From there, figure out what sort of effect they might be able to have.
Make it local so that they can see and touch the gift. National organizations usually have the most enticing pitches and best information on the impact of monetary gifts, but nothing beats being able to see your money and effort pay off. Helping build a house, stock a local food pantry or clean up their local park will show real impact that your child can see throughout the year. This can also help build a habit of charity.
Make it social. Birthdays are social events. Let your child recruit friends to their cause! Children of any age can bring gifts for a toy drive. Combine a trip to the park with a clean up or an educational nature hike. Participating in building a playground or a house can be a rewarding all day activity for teens. You can still have balloons and cake afterwards, but a more impactful birthday party can be a more memorable occasion too!
Birthdays are a time when we celebrate life. By making a habit of giving back every year on your child’s special day, they’ll build up years of memories throughout their childhood of times they made their own special impact in the community. Building on their actions and gifts, your child can grow with a cause that has real meaning to them. Now, that’s a happy birthday!
By Ryder Taff